Legal design and reporting harassment: preliminary considerations on the comparative efficacy of u.s. and Brazilian sexual harassment law

Augustus B. Cochran III


Laws against sexual harassment have been called “a feminist success story” (Zippel 2003). The creation of legal prohibitions against the histo ic and still widespread abuse of sexual harassment indeed represents a stirring story of innovation, both in the United States,where the problem was first dealt with as a legal matter, and now as a nearly universally recognized social problem. The effectiveness of these laws, however, remains a contentious subject, especially the question of whether policies are shaped to realistically deal with the conduct of perpetrators and the way targets actually respond. The variations in national laws present an opportunity to compare and contrast the contours of different legal responses to this problem and perhaps identify policy designs that are most effective in combating this misconduct. To this end, this paper sketches the different legal prohibitions in place in the U.S. and Brazil and explores the likely counter-reactions that these policies might encourage in sexual harassment victims.


Legal design; reporting harassment; sexual harassment; law; EUA; Brazil

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